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Full text of "Laughing Torso"


CHAPTER XIV                                      HYERES AND NICE
F. and R. had gone to live in the South of France*
They had taken a small villa some miles from
Hyeres, on the coast, and had frequently asked me
to stay with them. I was generally in debt in Paris
and could not go, but one day an Englishman came
over and bought a painting and I wrote to say that
I would come down. I took a train for Toulon;
it was, of course, late and I had to take a taxi eventu-
ally from Hyeres. Harry Melvill was staying there
too. The Villa was owned by an eccentric Professor
of Harmony from the Sorbonne, Monsieur Koechlin,
who appeared generally with a sack. There was a
fat and most wonderful cook and two Russian men
servants. The only shop was the Post Office, kept
by Madame Octoban. She was the postmistress and
had a cafe, also a shop. Round the countryside
were dotted villas. In order to get to the Post
Office we had either to walk along the sea-shore or
along the railway line. A very small train crawled
along an absurdly small line at the bottom of our
garden. That was at the back of the house, the
front looked on the sea. We could bathe from the
rocks below. F. refused to, as he said that no one
would admire his figure, but R. and I did, and lay
about on the rocks in the sun.
Georges Auric, I knew, was coming to stay after
Harry Melvill had left, and about a week after my
arrival he turned up, I had met him often at the
Boeuf, but I did not know him at all well arid re-